Budalangi’s only female parliamentary aspirant pushes to have expectant schoolgirls resume studies

Mediatrice Kamito Wangira, the iron lady of Budalangi’. She is contesting for the Budalangi parliamentary seat during the eagerly awaited General Election on a Jubilee Party ticket. Photo: Nyakwar Odawo
Mediatrice Kamito Wangira, the iron lady of Budalangi’. She is contesting for the Budalangi parliamentary seat during the eagerly awaited General Election on a Jubilee Party ticket. Photo: Nyakwar Odawo

Though a first timer in the political scene, Mediatrice Kamito Wangira, a bonafide resident of Munani Village, Ruambwa Sub-location in Budalangi Constituency, Bunyala Sub-County has gone on record as one who has used her position to empower and encourage area residents apply for electricity.

Unlike majority of aspiring politicians who fear spending their money on development projects when not sure that will capture political seats, Wangira has done everything at her disposal as an executive at the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) to fund the education of children from poor families with her monthly salary.

The fearless Wangira, known among her supporters and fellow villagers as the ‘Iron lady of Budalangi’ is set to battle it out with seven men for the Budalangi parliamentary slot in the eagerly awaited General Election on a Jubilee Party ticket.

Prior to her declaration to join the political scene, the former KPLC executive has gone to great lengths to come to the assistance of school girls from Budalang’i Constituency who had dropped out of school as a result of early pregnancy.

The role upcoming politician has played in catering for the welfare of needy cases in the Constituency has placed her a notch-higher than her male rivals who, for fear of suffering severe defeat, have intensified their campaign to nip her popularity in the bud.

Poverty

The female parliamentary aspirant, through “Eridala Foundation” which is her own brain-child formed to address issues affecting the girl-child and widows in Budalangi Constituency has so far come to the rescue of six schoolgirls, one from each of Budalangi’s six locations who had dropped out of school due to early pregnancy by encouraging them to return to school.

Apart from paying for their school fees, the foundation has been buying school uniforms as well as   learning materials and other personal effects for the students.

“I have assigned my people on the ground to identify more needy children so that they can also be included in the programme once funds are available,” says Wangira. “I have done a proposal and forwarded to a non-governmental organization known as Global South which I believe will help me in addressing these issues of concern if it succeeds.”

Poverty has also contributed a great deal to early pregnancy and subsequent school dropout as majority of the affected girls reside with aging parents or guardians. These girls frequent the beaches in search of casual employment in an effort to fend for their families.

Some of the children seek employment at the rice fields where they are paid as little as KSh200 daily oblivious to the dangers of snakes that live in the farms.

If elected, Wangira says, she will perform better than her male colleagues who have been in power for decades with little to show for it as far as development is concerned.

The female parliamentary aspirant who has also been described by her supporters as a “go-getter” is assuring Budalangi Constituents that if elected MP, she will give education the first priority considering that it is the only gateway to prosperity and means to eliminate poverty.

“What matters is development, so I would wish to advise you to elect a leader you feel is able to deliver the goods at the end of the day regardless of one’s political party affiliation because development is based on transparency and accountability,” advices Wangira.

Acute water shortage

Nambengele and Ruambwa residents in Budalangi Constituency have suffered a lot due to persistent water shortage and the hope of accessing clean drinking water has become a pipe dream.

The frequent water shortage has seen majority of them, especially women and girls, trekking long distances to fetch water from as far as River Nzoia, many kilometres away. Those who are unable to go that far, opt to fetch the commodity from a pool of stagnant water in the area.

The situation has worsened with the current dry spell which has affected most parts of the country leading to the death of livestock and crops.

It is even more surprising to note that a place like Port Victoria, which is closer to Lake Victoria, has no clean drinking water.

“My second priority is water. If elected Member of Parliament, I will work closely with both the county and national governments to ensure water treatment plants are established in places like Sisenye which is closer to the lake so that the local residents can access clean drinking water,” says Wangira.

Challenges faced

However, Wangira is quick to point out that she has encountered a host of challenges while assisting the children. One of them being that once an expectant  girl-child has delivered her baby, persuading them to go back to school becomes a nightmare due to fear of being stigmatised by former classmates.

But armed with a team of experienced guidance and counsellors, Wangira has been able to convince them to resume studies and majority, after realizing they have wasted a lot of their valuable time, have managed to go through their secondary education successfully.

Another challenge that has curtailed her concerted efforts to come to the assistance of more needy cases in the constituency is inadequate finance. However, she is hopeful that with the determination to realize her noble goal, she will do everything at her disposal to ensure she meets the goals of this just cause.

“Although inadequate funding has hampered me from reaching more needy cases, I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel since I will do my best to realize my dream of incorporating more needy cases in Bunyala Sub-County,” says Wangira.

In an effort to empower the women economically, she is planning to work closely with all women’s groups, majority of whom engage in various income generating activities such as horticulture and table-banking.